The Stages of Parenthood – Parenting Tips for Every Step of the Way

Posted on August 19, 2012 · Posted in Parenting

As you embark on the life of a parent, you will also grow in it and follow different stages along the way. So it’s not just your kids who grow. In a way, you grow together, and just as you influence your children as they grow, they also influence you.

Generally and in normal situations, parents go through six different stages of parenthood. The stages are as follows:


Pregnancy is the stage when parents prepare for parenthood as they await the birth of their child. At this stage, the parents adjust to the prospect of a new life together and with a baby. Thus, many questions may arise, especially with regards to how the new member of the family will affect the parents’ lives, especially their routines. Some of the biggest worries that parents at this stage face include:

Concerns about the health and safety of the coming baby
Concerns about delivery
The cost of providing for a baby
Whether they will still have time for themselves

Autonomy (From birth to 24 months)

Once the baby is born, parents move into a new stage called autonomy. This is the stage at which the parents have to create the best possible environment for their new baby. At this point, the biggest concerns of parents include:

Providing for the baby
Forming a bond with the newest member of the family
Balancing their life as parents and their other responsibilities, especially with regards to their jobs
Child care

Many couples face a major discussion at this point, mainly about whether one parent will stay home with the child or child care services will be needed.

Authoritative (From two to five years of age)

Once the child hits two and while he is under five, the parents hold all authority over them. This is not a privilege for parents; it is a responsibility. At this stage, parents still need to nurture their children, but since the children are rapidly developing intellectually, emotionally, and socially, parents need to guide and discipline them.

At this stage, parents usually concern themselves with:

Establishing rules for the new family
Communicating these rules to their child
Establishing limits for their child
Determining the child’s needs for further growth and development

The most confusing issue that parents face during this stage is to allow their kids enough freedom to explore, which will be intellectually stimulating for them. On the other hand, parents hesitate to give their kids too much freedom to ensure their safety. Thus, parents have to find the balance between these two options, so as not to restrict a kid too much or to compromise his safety.

Interpretive (School age)

The interpretive stage comprises all the years in which the child is attending preschool to high school. Now that kids are forming their personalities and are getting more acquainted with the outside world, parents have a greater responsibility to discipline and guide them. Parents also have to formally introduce their kids socially at this stage, teaching him how to interact with teachers and friends.

At this stage, one of the most common issues parents face is the influence that peers could have on a person, particularly a kid. As the kids grow, the influence of their peers becomes very powerful, so much so that it tends to overpower the influence of the parents. Thus, parents have to concern themselves with improving channels of communication between them and their kids so they will still retain their positions as figures of authority and influence.

Interdependent (Adolescence)

When a child becomes an adolescent child, the parent also transitions from the interpretive stage of parenthood to the interdependent stage. Since a child is now beginning to stand on his own two feet, the parent is responsible for teaching the child how to make the right decisions.

This can be a stressful time for both parents and kids. The adolescent in need of an identity and independence can pose several problems to his parents. Many parents, therefore, think that this stage is the hardest in all the stages of parenthood.

Departure (Adulthood)

Like all processes, parenthood also has an end, and it is called ‘departure’. This can happen earlier or later than planned, but in this stage, the relationship between parents and kids will evolve and become more detached. In this stage, the child leaves or prepares to leave home. This can be a difficult time for all parents, mainly because they are forced to redefine their roles in their children’s lives.Natural memory enhancer